Climbing Fall 2020

Climbing offers the entire climbing world: sport, trad, bouldering, walls, ice, alpine and mountains. In each issue we offer the richest stories on the vertical world you'll ever read, with award-winning photography. Climbing has earned its moniker as the journal of record for climbers worldwide.

United States
Pocket Outdoor Media, LLC


“the community issue”

I grew up in a multiracial, multicultural city: Albuquerque, New Mexico, home to a mix of Latinx, Native American, Black, Asian, and Anglo people. The city’s Mexican and Spanish roots run deep, a fact that’s reflected in its populace, dining (some of the best Mexican food around), language, and street names (Rio Grande, Paseo del Norte, etc.). My high school was a blend of races, as were my school friends. But at the rock, it was another matter: In the late-1980s New Mexico climbing scene, we were all pretty much white, save a few climbers of Latinx or Native American heritage. I didn’t pay it much thought: I was a teenager caught up in this new obsession and pretty oblivious to social issues. I moved to Boulder, Colorado, in 1991 to…

caption contest, quick clips, re-gram, book club

Caption Contest @YKBA234 is the winner of our Caption Contest, which we roll out each issue with hilarious cartoons from Jordan Peterson (@ jordankpeterson). For this winning caption, @ykba234 wins a Meteor helmet from Petzl. Stay tuned to our site and social channels for the next contest, and see for the honorable mentions. CORRECTION In Gear: Comp Shoes (No. 373), we mistakenly wrote that the Scarpa Drago/Drago LV do not have a midsole, when in fact they do. Climbing apologizes for the error. QUICK CLIPS Each issue, we pick the best Quick Clip to run in print and then post it and other submissions online ( “Cycling caps are perfect for climbing: They’re designed to be worn under a helmet; the bill is short so you can look up at the climb and it will…

gender bias: nonbinary climbers sound off on discrimination in climbing

Rin Gentry, 24, knows most people look at them and assume they are a woman. Their style is spunky and colorful. They have bright-pink hair and a high ponytail with bangs. They dress in Spandex and cropped tank tops. They don’t deny they appear feminine. “But I’m not a strong female climber,” they say. “I hate when people call me that.” Gentry, a nonbinary person who uses they/them pronouns, is a strong climber, with ticks including Spray-a-Thon (5.13c) and Tomb Raider (5.13d) in Rifle, and Atomic Fireballs (5.13d) in the Red River Gorge. Gentry also won back-to-back Collegiate Sport Regionals in Colorado in 2018 and 2019, took fourth place at Collegiate Nationals in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in 2019, and third place in CityROCK’s Battle Royale in Colorado Springs in 2019. However, despite…

rated r: should oscene or offensive routes be renamed?

Melissa Utomo’s first trip to Ten Sleep Canyon, Wyoming, in July 2019, was memorable. Sure, the limitless limestone and alpine wildflowers left an impression. But what stood out the most was an area called the Slavery Wall. Flipping through the guidebook, she was shocked: Route names included Happiness in Slavery (5.12b), Aunt Jemima’s Bisquick Thunderdome (5.12c), and 40 Acres and a Mule (5.11a). “There was this feeling that certain people weren’t welcome,” says Utomo, who is Asian American. That feeling cast a shadow over her trip. Naming Rights Route names range from geographical (Northeast Face) to punny (The Young and the Rackless, 5.9) to pornographic (Daily Dick Dose, V7). And some, like those at what was until recently called the Slavery Wall, touch on race or gender, issues turbocharged in the wake of…

autumn climbing kit

A. Mad Rock Redline Strap $139, The updated Redline Strap is a radically downturned, asymmetrical beast (Mad Rock calls the shape a “spiral last”) made for gym climbing and steeps. These shoes are tight: I usually wear an 8.5 or 9 rock shoe, but here needed a 9.5. Perhaps this was because the molded heel cup is so deep that there’s little stretch; the forefoot is also narrow, which made the Redline great for smear-edging. These may be the best shoes I’ve tried for technical heel hooks, specifically on small gym holds. On a roof problem at the gym, I locked in the extruded heel-hooking ridge and shook out, whereas I couldn’t even get the heel to stick in other boots. This design creates maximum torque—it almost felt like I could…

seasonal drift: why appetite fluctuates throughout the year—and how to flow with it

Every year as August comes to a close, I notice my appetite increase and my drive for climbing, training, and physical exertion wane. The shift feels dramatic in contrast with the summer, when I have low appetite, a high motivation to get outside, and more grit when projecting. At first, I perceived this pattern only with myself. However, as I’ve learned during my past five years working with climbers as nutrition clients, this is a common story: Climbers mention that they’re hungrier as the days get shorter, with a concurrent drop in energy and grit, and perhaps some weight gain (muscle and/or fat). So, how do we optimize these shifts—especially into “winter mode,” which often causes panic in climbers? Far from being a constant, appetite—the desire for food or drink—is impacted by…